The new politburo of the most powerful communist party in human history recently restated the oath of admission to the CPC. This was at the site of the first meeting of the CPC back in 1921.
The English version of the oath:
It is my will to join the Communist Party of China, uphold the Party’s program, observe the provisions of the Party Constitution, fulfill a Party member’s duties, carry out the Party’s decisions, strictly observe Party discipline, guard Party secrets, be loyal to the Party, work hard, fight for communism throughout my life, be ready at all times to sacrifice my all for the Party and the people, and never betray the Party.
In what is clearly his most important speech yet, Xi Jinping spoke for three hours at the opening of the CPC’s 19th congress yesterday morning (18 October).
You can view the full video of the opening and Xi’s speech here (with English translation). Rather stunning in its relative simplicity, especially if you keep in mind that this is not only the congress of the largest political party in the world, but the most powerful communist party in human history.
In the next post, I will provide an infographics of the key points of Xi’s speech, but it is worth noting here that it has officially been designated as a significant new phase of Marxist thought in a Chinese context: Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
And in a speech in which Marxism is clearly the framework, it is worth noting the continuing importance of Mao’s ‘contradiction analysis’. The key is to identify through careful analysis the primary or most important contradiction that needs to be addressed.
For Xi: ‘What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life [mei hua sheng huo]’. By this is meant democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, a better environment, and spiritual and cultural concerns.
Even if you were in total hibernation, you couldn’t miss the fact that the CPC’s 19th congress opens here in two days with a major speech from Xo Jinping.
Security is super-tight (another level of that extremely complex Chinese word, anquangan), with almost a million local people – often retirees – involved in keeping an eye on things, all party members in the city on roster at major sites, and of course extra internet security.
Along with the banners all over China and the shorthand ‘shijiuda’ (19th congress) on everyone’s lips, it is a fascinating time to be here.
I was planning to keep up to date with the many themes emerging, but it has simply become too much to do so – except for items that take my fancy.
So, to keep up with all manner of activities, with news, videos, interviews, in-depth analyses and so on, check out the dedicated English-language site at Xinhua news. If you want the latest information at your fingertips (that is, on a smartphone), download the new English language app from the People’s Daily. Or if you want the core site in Chinese, then go to the official site and use either the Chinese or English version.
Apart from the expected promotion – or propaganda in the good old sense of the word – of the CPC and China, the foreign language sites also include explainers concerning processes of election, breakdown of party members and delegates, and so on. And you may be struck by how often Marxist concepts and strategies appear in this material, giving you a sense of how vibrant Chinese Marxism really is.
The 19th congress of the CPC will get underway in a few days here in Beijing. Security is super-tight at all levels, and a new website and wechat account will be available on Wednesday: http://19th.cpcnews.cn and cpcnews19th.
It will be an absolutely fascinating event of global significance, since China is now the most powerful socialist country in world history. But what will be on the agenda? Heaps, obviously, but the trend of news cycles is a good indication.
Let me begin with poverty reduction. I have already pointed out that more than 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty, with 40 million remaining by 2020. So what is being done?
You can start with a brief video that indicates the specific ‘targeted poverty alleviation’, involving millions of party members and specialists. Follow this up with a useful overview of the past 39 years of poverty reduction.
Then there are specific stories from different regions, such as this one from Shimen in Guizhou Province, or Xingchong village in Hubei province, which highlights the work with children of parents who work in the cities for many months of the year.
Or this story from Xinjiang province, where a major focus is relocation of people from unproductive and remote areas so they can have access to new housing, education and medicine.
Or the work with other minority nationalities, like this one concerning the Miao in Taijiang County, part of the Miao-Dong Autonomous Prefecture of Qiandongnan in Guizhou Province.
Obviously, this program has not been thought up overnight. It has been going on for quite some time, with fine-tuning and reshaping over time. But it has become a signature policy of Xi Jinping, aiming for a moderately prosperous society (xiaokang shehui) by the centenary of the CPC.
As a footnote, everywhere you go are signs, banners and slogans concerning the 19th congress. A few samples, from the city of Xingtai and Beijing Railway Station West metro station:
What a great time to be in Beijing. In about two weeks the most important Communist Party congress in history will take place here. It is the nineteenth congress of the CPC, which will assess developments over the last five years and lay out plans for the next five. Preparations have been underway for a year or more, not least being the long process of electing the 2,287 delegates. For more information on the election process, see Xinhua news.